I went to Duxford today based on the weather forecast which even this morning on the telly was saying wall to wall sunshine and possibly the warmest day of the year. It was wall to wall cloud and it rained. A bit. Worth it though as the TFC Wildcat had its first engine run since 2008, and spread a nice oily smoke screen across the museum site as well. Meanwhile the Poles had turned up to dismantle the Amiot AAC.1 Toucan, which is going to a museum in Poland, which is being disassembled in AirSpace for about the next week although judging by what they had dismantled in a couple of hours they may be finished a lot earlier.
First day of May and wall to wall sunshine and very warm, at last. The Fighter Collection were out in force with six aircraft out on the airfield during the day. Pete Kynsey started off the proceedings by taking the recently re-painted Spitfire Mk.1a/AR213 for a flight. It is now in the temporay markings of Spitfire Mk IIa/ P7308/XR-D of No.71 (Eagle) Squadron as flown by Pilot Officer William R. Dunn, an American who joined the RAF before the USA entered the European war in 1942. A short time later he flew the Gloster Gladiator which hasn't flown since 2008 following a complete rebuild. After a brief air test over the airfield, he flew off to the north and returned with some aerobatics over the airfield.
Camera Used: Sony Alpha A57 SLT + Sony16-105mm/f3.5-5.6 Lens & Sony Alpha A58SLT & Sony 70-300mm/70-400mm G SSM/f4.5-5.5 Lens
I arrived at Duxford on another glorious wall to wall sunshine day to see the ARCo T9 Spitfire outside hangar 2 with a gaggle of people around it. Turned out to be a film crew who later moved into hangar 3 for some close-up cockpit shots in the Me.109 Buchon while outside the Me.108 went for a longish flight. Although it was being worked on in the hangar when I arrived, the TFC P-40F went for a couple of air tests as in taking off, flying to the north for a short time and straight in to land. The T.28 flew twice with one of the sorties being a display authority flight for the air show routine it does. Following the engine repair, the Catalina flew off for an air test and the later that afternoon also had a display authority flight.
10th May 2013
I believe 'Princess Elizabeth' was supposed to be de-containerised yesterday but the wind was a bit above limits for swinging a fuselage which was fortunate for me as I got to see it today. Meanwhile TFC had their Spitfire FR.XIVe out for an engine run this morning followed in the afternoon by P-47 'Snafu' and although the T9 Spitfire and desert Bouchon were outside down at ARCo the only warbird I saw flying was a very nice dark blue Sea Fury that beat the airfield up, twice. Unfortunately I didn't have time to get my long lens out. Work on dismantling the Amiot(Ju52 to you) seems to be completed and the Polish engineers have started stripping the Sea Venom which is also heading for Krakow.
13th May 2013
P-51C Mustang - 'Princess Elizabeth' was re-assembled enough to venture out onto the airfield this morning for a bit of an engine ground run and brake test which it appeared to pass. The Sea Venom had been moved from 3 hangar to AirSpace where it was slowly being dismantled. Aircraft of The Fighter Collection were outside again with the Harvard and P-47 eventually going flying later in the day and the Old Flying Machine Company Spitfire also had an engine test around lunchtime.
Another cold, blustery and wet day at Duxford. When I arrived TFC P-40F was being moved into the hangar following a tie down run at the top end of the airfield. The P-47 was out on the grass and had an engine run and soon joined the P-40F in the hangar. Outside AirSpace was a low loader with a Ju-52 & Sea Venom wing tied down on it and inside was another low loader being loaded with the other set of wings. Both low loaders are on their way to Poland now. The peace of the day was occasionally shattered by a Force India F1 car doing straight line testing on the runway. Later in the afternoon the P-40F was back outside and Stu Goldspink took it for a bit of a spin and touched down just before a rain front passed over Duxford again.
And another cold and wet day at Duxford. Because of the weather I wasn't expecting much, how wrong I was. The Sea Venom and remaing pieces of the Ju52 were finally loadedin a wagon and on their way to Poland. The Catalina was doing a bit of pilot training with several circuits and landing and after being refueled, departed for France for the weekend. The T-28 also appeared to be pilot traing and it was also doing circuits and landings. Later in the afternoon, John Romain took the Bouchon up for a test flight and an Apache helicopter parked on the jet pan after also completing a few circuits and landings.
18th May 2013
Slightly better weather as in it was a bit warmer and no rain. The Raipde left on the short journey to Cambridge Airport Flying Club for their 60th Anniversary event. The Fighter Collection had their Carbon Cub and Mk XIV Spitfire outside fo a bit of flying. The Spitfire was supposed to be going to Holland for an air show but returned just after taking off with a technical problem. If fixed it may fly out tomorrow.
22nd May 2013
A splash of colour in 3 hangar in the shape of an XtremeAir Sbach 300 sitting in the space normally reserved for the OFMC Spitfire LFIXc/MH434. It, along with the TFC Spitifre XIV, P-47 and Hawk 75 had been stranded on the continent since attending various air shows over the weekend due to the somewhat bad weather that prevailed everywhere since then although they have now returned late this afternoon. A new arrival in hangar 2 is Hawker Hurricane XII/AE977 which is one of the four aircraft of the ‘Eagle Squadron’ taking part in the Spring Air Show on Sunday.
23rd May 2013
It was definately a waterproofs and gloves day as it turned quite cold as the frequent spring showers passed through. ARCo had a bit of a shuffle around of their fleet in hangar 2 and the only flying I saw was a visiting ex Army Air Corps Gazelle helicopter, although there was some war bird flying later in the afternoon after I had left. The Catalina had a couple of low revolution engine runs and the recently arrived Hurricane had a brief spell outside in the rain as it was moved closer to the hangar doors.
25th May 2013
With wall to wall rain all day on Friday, there was a promise of wall to wall flying on the Saturday to make up for the missed day. The promise came true with nice warm sunshine and virtually constant flying all day with arrivals and display pilots getting in some practice before the air show. Highlight of the day was the first flight of the 'Eagle Squadron'. problem was that they got airbourne just as the museum was closing and we had to make do with photographing them from the museum car park.
27th May 2013
When I parked up my motorbike at the Museum Monday morning (I thought the A14/M11 was a bit lacking in cars and lorries for a Monday morning til I remembered it was a Bank Holiday) the Mk 1 Spitfire was doing a few circuits with the Castle Air/G-HDTV helicopter in tow for a bit of air-to-air filming. By the time the doors opened it had parked up and gently steaming. There were some left overs from the show and the visiting Harvard departed for home base and the Catalina returned from Germany. The Tucano will probably leave tomorrow, subject to the weather, as Linton is closed for the Bank Holiday and the two Dakotas are parked up near the American Air Museum as I believe they are taking part as extras in Monuments Men, bits of which are being filmed at Duxford. Just before midday the B-17 and Eagle Squadron fired up and departed for their trip around American WWII bases in the area. Another photo sortie had been arranged for the afternoon but was cancelled, probably as the wind had got up and was gusting a bit. Fun watching Classic Wings Tiger Moths landing though.
30th May 2013
Following the OFMC Spitfire/MH434 being part painted and used as a prop for a film about an Israeli Air Force story yesterday, today it was the turn of the BoB Buchon to don the Star of David to represent an Avia S199 Mezek. After a couple of taxi passes for the cameras, John Romain took off for some excellent low passes. Excuse the quality but I was getting wet standing in mizzle at the time and it was getting darker as the cloud base got lower and auto focus kept cutting out as the Buchon blended with the sky. I wonder if they are going to CGI in Mediterranean blue sky and sunshine.